Join 3,551 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


granny get your gun
November 28, 2006 2:26 PM   Subscribe

Plainclothes police serving a drug warrant defend killing an elderly woman in the roughest neighborhood in Atlanta. Perhaps it’s a flaw in the exclusionary rule. Or perhaps “had she been without her precious gun, she’d no doubt be alive today”
posted by Smedleyman (152 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

 
Rev. Markel Hutchins, a civil rights leader, said Johnston's family deserves an apology. "Of the police brutality cases we've had, this is the most egregious because of the woman's age," Hutchins said.

Of course, Hutchins doesn't mention that she shot three of the officers before they returned fire.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 2:31 PM on November 28, 2006


Had she obtained some armor piercing bullets, she would be alive today.
posted by IronLizard at 2:33 PM on November 28, 2006


(This will not go well. Sunshine and kittens = good; shooting an old lady = bad; gray area in the middle where the truth often lies...)
posted by Ricky_gr10 at 2:40 PM on November 28, 2006


Radley Balko is covering this in-depth over at The Agitator. He figures that at least 110 of these no-knock warrants are executed per day in the US. The vast majority for drugs.

Here's her house with a wheelchair-ramp in front. That should have clued the wanna-be Rambos to the fact that it was not a drug-den.

Previous MeFi on no-knock warrants (1, 2).

Let's put her up on the big board.

I, for one, am incredibly impressed that she was able to get to her pistol and tag three of them before they murdered her.

Somebody needs to go to prison for this one.
posted by i_am_a_Jedi at 2:43 PM on November 28, 2006


NPR: Narc Squad Suspended in Death of Woman
"Police say they entered the house based on the word of a confidential informant who bought drugs there. Officers got a special 'no knock' warrant, which allowed them to enter the home without warning. The warrant says the informant bought crack cocaine from a man named Sam at the home....But now the informant has come forward to say he has never been to the house, and that police asked him to lie to provide cover for the death of Kathyrn Johnston."
USA Today: In Atlanta: 'Somebody is lying'
"The story is unraveling and a potential scandal is brewing in Atlanta, where more questions are being raised about the police raid that led to the shooting death of 92-year-old Kathryn Johnston one week ago today, our Gannett colleagues at WXIA-TV report."
posted by ericb at 2:43 PM on November 28, 2006 [1 favorite]


Not much gray area. She shot every single officer from the reports I read. Much like the old man who mowed down all those people in Santa Monica, there isn't much of a silver lining to be found anywhere in this story.
posted by basicchannel at 2:44 PM on November 28, 2006


The informant claims not to have bought drugs at her house.
posted by b1tr0t at 2:45 PM on November 28, 2006


Randy Balko is a MeFite and he is doing God's work on this issue.
posted by Falconetti at 2:47 PM on November 28, 2006


Not much gray area. She shot every single officer from the reports I read.

The plainclothes officers broke down her door without warning. Since they were without uniform, and had a warrent that allowed them to enter without warning, how was she to know they were police officers, and not angry crackheads?
posted by b1tr0t at 2:47 PM on November 28, 2006


Brings to mind this 1994 "no-knock raid" in Boston --

75 Year Old Minister Dies As Cops Raid Wrong Apartment
"A 75-year-old retired minister died of a heart attack last night after struggling with 13 heavily armed Boston Police officers who stormed the wrong Dorchester apartment in a botched drug raid.

The Rev. Accelyne Williams struggled briefly when the raiding officers, some of them masked and carrying shotguns, subdued and handcuffed him, then he collapsed, police said.

Williams, a retired Methodist minister, was pronounced dead of cardiac arrest at 4 p.m. yesterday at Carney Hospital said hospital spokesman William Henderson."
posted by ericb at 2:51 PM on November 28, 2006


Assistant Chief Alan Dreher said the officers had a legal warrant and "knocked and announced" before they forced open the door.
Without warning? Of course, somebody could be lying.

Basically I blame whoever fired first. If she shot first, it's all her fault.
posted by mistermoore at 2:52 PM on November 28, 2006


I stand corrected. Fuck the po-lice! Right?
posted by basicchannel at 2:55 PM on November 28, 2006


Chief Pennington has been in some sticky situations before.
posted by Kwantsar at 2:58 PM on November 28, 2006


Let's read the articles, folks:
The officers were wearing vests with POLICE across the front;
They announced they were police when they charged in;
So what if she's elderly? Should they have asked for her AARP card before returning fire? Do bullets not count when fired by a retiree?
posted by Lord Kinbote at 3:01 PM on November 28, 2006 [1 favorite]


Good to know that the War on Drugs is going so well. I'm sure it's the model that the War on Terror is being based on.

The idea of no-knock warrants is pretty chilling, especially when it's plainclothes officers. How are the inhabitants expected to distinguish it from a standard home invasion robbery? It's completely reasonable to shoot to kill when armed men storm your home. I wonder what the NRA's take on this is...
posted by mullingitover at 3:01 PM on November 28, 2006


Where are you all getting that she was busted in on unannounced? All the articles linked in the FPP say just the opposite.
posted by mistermoore at 3:02 PM on November 28, 2006


mistermoore writes "Assistant Chief Alan Dreher said the officers had a legal warrant and 'knocked and announced' before they forced open the door."

The official position on this point has been shifting. It is a fact that the police had obtained a "no knock" warrant, so they were not required to announce themselves. More recent statements from the Atlanta PD have the officers announcing themselves as they were breaking down the door, rather than previous to breaking down the door.
posted by mr_roboto at 3:03 PM on November 28, 2006


She fired six shots, five of which found their target. She could have taught New York's finest something about marksmanship.
posted by Flashman at 3:03 PM on November 28, 2006


> Do bullets not count when fired by a retiree?

Bullets don't count when they're fired at people who suddenly and aggressively enter your house wielding guns.
posted by iconjack at 3:07 PM on November 28, 2006 [2 favorites]


Yeah, that dumb old broad! Seriously, I am in good health and of sound mind and if a bunch of people came rampaging through my apartment in the middle of the night with guns blazing, my instinct would be to defend myself. I wouldn't go, hmm let me think here, could this be a botched raid, better wait a bit and find out whether they slaughter me or not. Now imagine an old lady, possibly confused and woken from sleep. She is even less likely to be able to make split second decisions and her instinct is more likely to take over.

It doesn't matter who shot first in every scenario. Should someone wait until they get a bullet in the head before deciding that it is OK for them to protect themselves in what they very reasonably think is self-defense? If they are all sitting their having a chat and the old lady whips out a pistol and starts firing, then yeah, she shot first, she should be in trouble, but that is not the scenario we are talking about (granted there is some dispute over the chain of events).

Another problem with these outrageous raids is that when the police accidentally kill an innocent because they think they are part of a paramilitary apparatus and American citizens are their enemies, they are rarely prosecuted because of immunity. But, when an innocent civilian acts to protect themselves or their family from barging, yelling armed men rampaging into their room in the middle of the night, they are strung up and sent to jail.
posted by Falconetti at 3:09 PM on November 28, 2006


Lord Kinbote writes "The officers were wearing vests with POLICE across the front;
"They announced they were police when they charged in;
"So what if she's elderly? Should they have asked for her AARP card before returning fire? Do bullets not count when fired by a retiree?"


A citizen defending her home and life should not be required to excercise the kind of tactical target discrimination that we don't even expect out of our soldiers. Her home was being invaded; she defended herself.
posted by mr_roboto at 3:14 PM on November 28, 2006


Where are you all getting that she was busted in on unannounced? All the articles linked in the FPP say just the opposite.

From the first link: Dreher, the assistant police chief, said that as far as he knew the narcotics officers did "everything by the book. They had a search warrant, they announced themselves and knocked first."

We don't know what really happened, and probably never will. Since the only witness is dead, the officers can safely claim that they announced themselves, even if they did not. If I was a police officer, enering what I believed to be a dangerous crack den with a no-knock warrent, *I* would shoot first. But if I was an armed elderly person at home alone, and a group of people broke into my house, I would try to shoot first as well.

This is a no-win situation, and everyone will be outraged.
posted by b1tr0t at 3:14 PM on November 28, 2006


“how was she to know they were police officers, and not angry crackheads?”

Ah, but police said the officers knocked and identified themselves.
Um...despite having a uh...no-knock warrant which would defeat the purpose.
But still they said they found drugs, didn’t they? So there you go. ...Even though the informant said he didn’t get them there.
But she shot first. She should know they’re really the police because you can’t shout “police” and wear a tag on your chest that says “police” if you’re not. By the same token she should have shouted “old woman.” You see, they can target and shoot each other, but elderly women should be able to see that they’re the police even though trained experianced officers can’t identify her as an old woman. And they sure as hell can’t retreat or take cover and attempt to communicate, because that would....uh...
Look, it’s all very complex citizen. Way over your head.
And anyway, why did she need a gun? The police are there to protect...um
...DRUGS!!! Boogah!
posted by Smedleyman at 3:20 PM on November 28, 2006


The entire raid stinks. They obtained a no knock warrant, something that's (supposedly) reserved for dangerous situations, and then decided to knock and announce? This was a situation that was so dire it required a no knock, yet the raid was conducted by three officers and not a SWAT unit?

First an undercover officer bought some drugs, whoops it was an informant, whoops again the informant is saying the police are playing CYA and he wasn't involved.

re: shooting people barging in your front door. Law abiding citizens don't think the police are going to bust down their doors. Considering the woman's niece had recently spoken to her about a 72 year old being raped in the area, coming out with guns blazing doesn't seem like an overreaction.
posted by ryoshu at 3:21 PM on November 28, 2006


The police, whom Dreher called "experienced officers," were not wearing uniforms but had on vests with "police" on the front.

So what ? Anybody can get these vests , while it is a little harder to pretend you are police, notify a person that they going to break if she doesn't come out they going to drop tear gas in. Too much work ? Cry me a river.

Also , evidently the break in tactic is also an unnecessarily dangerous one and we have hard evidence of cops injuried by a 90 something !

This seems like another tragedy involving drugs,"

On preview: what smedleyman say. IT IS DRUG, OSAMA, PAEDOPHILE , SEX BOOOOAGAH !
posted by elpapacito at 3:22 PM on November 28, 2006


huh, the 88 year old lady tagged three of them before that managed to kill her? Something fishy is going on...
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:25 PM on November 28, 2006


There are so many things that went awry in this situation that I hesitate to try to choose one as the worst. [done hesitating] I really, really dislike guns myself and haven't ever touched one. But here's what'd happen if cops expecting a dangerous crackhouse knock-announce-busted in my door at night:

A bunch of (friendly) dogs would instantanously appear, barking their fucking heads off, with me in hot pursuit. And the cops would (understandbly) think "vicious attack pitbulls" and shoot us all dead, probably. Even if Granny were unarmed, so many perfectly harmless things that might await the police on our private property can easily get us and them killed.

Which is why Radley Balko has it right; the first thing that went wrong here is lack of genuine, competently investigated probable cause, and that's what made all the other bad things possible.
posted by FelliniBlank at 3:25 PM on November 28, 2006


But still they said they found drugs, didn’t they?
Oddly enough, no they didn't mention finding anything......
posted by IronLizard at 3:27 PM on November 28, 2006


If they did have a no-knock warrant, then the recent case Hudson v. Michigan does not apply -- the no-knock warrant means the evidence would be admissible in any event, and the legality of no-knock warrants was established well prior to Hudson. Breyer's dissent points this out.
posted by footnote at 3:28 PM on November 28, 2006


So, you're saying this is why they would get a no-knock warrant and then knock anyway, right?
posted by IronLizard at 3:30 PM on November 28, 2006


FelliniBlank writes "A bunch of (friendly) dogs would instantanously appear, barking their fucking heads off, with me in hot pursuit. And the cops would (understandbly) think 'vicious attack pitbulls' and shoot us all dead, probably."

Yeah, these raids kill a lot of dogs.

IronLizard writes "Oddly enough, no they didn't mention finding anything......"

They Atlanta PD has claimed "small amounts" of mj were found. I'm not sure if this position has been shifting, too.
posted by mr_roboto at 3:31 PM on November 28, 2006


Remind me why it's a good idea to let 92-year old women, or indeed any citizen or policeman, have guns?
posted by matthewr at 3:37 PM on November 28, 2006


That should have clued the wanna-be Rambos to the fact that it was not a drug-den.

The old lady who sold my friends and I pot and acid back in high school was in a wheelchair.

They obtained a no knock warrant, something that's (supposedly) reserved for dangerous situations

She had a gun close enough to grab and tag three officers. Sounds pretty dangerous. Unless:

the 88 year old lady tagged three of them before that managed to kill her? Something fishy is going on...

This is the case. But let's just break out the Mefi Jump To Conclusions mat anyway.
posted by Cyrano at 3:38 PM on November 28, 2006


They Atlanta PD has claimed "small amounts" of mj were found. I'm not sure if this position has been shifting, too.

The police originally said they found narcotics at the house. That's been changed to a small amount of mj. Nothing in this story has been consistent, other than the death of an elderly woman.
posted by ryoshu at 3:39 PM on November 28, 2006


Falconetti : "if a bunch of people came rampaging through my apartment in the middle of the night with guns blazing"

I don't think "guns blazing" means what you think it means. It doesn't mean "brandishing guns", it means "shooting guns". Not a rebut to your argument, I'm just pedantic.
posted by Bugbread at 3:39 PM on November 28, 2006


To defend themselves, duh!
posted by freebird at 3:42 PM on November 28, 2006


So, you're saying this is why they would get a no-knock warrant and then knock anyway, right?
posted by IronLizard at 6:30 PM EST on November 28


I'm not sure I understand your question? The police could certainly announce even if they had a no-knock warrant. The no-knock warrant doesn't require them not to knock.
posted by footnote at 3:42 PM on November 28, 2006


She had a gun close enough to grab and tag three officers. Sounds pretty dangerous.

The danger in no knock warrants can become self-fulfilling. If these officers had walked up to her front door and rang the door bell to serve the warrant, I'd wager she wouldn't have shot the three of them. By busting down her front door the officers immediately escalated the situation and turned it into a tragedy.
posted by ryoshu at 3:43 PM on November 28, 2006


Which is why Radley Balko has it right; the first thing that went wrong here is lack of genuine, competently investigated probable cause, and that's what made all the other bad things possible.

I will do you one better - the first thing that went wrong here is the implementation of asinine drug laws, which Balko has also been discussing with regard to this case. As he wrote in a recent post:

And all of this -- for what?

To stop people from getting high.

posted by noahpoah at 3:44 PM on November 28, 2006


I could have done without the lame anti-gun link from the Daily Herald. "Had she been without her precious gun, she’d no doubt be alive today." - there is absolutely no proof of that whatsoever. How many times have these raids resulted in the deaths of totally unarmed citizens? At least this one had the means to defend herself from what she considered to be a home invasion.
posted by drstein at 3:44 PM on November 28, 2006


What is the reason for a no-knock warrant? I imagine it was made on some bender by legislatures as they dared each other to "make the most dangerous possible warrant ever."

I mean, especially in the states. You don't know who's armed down there (well, ok, everyone (*ducks)).
posted by eurasian at 3:46 PM on November 28, 2006


The no-knock warrant is intended to be used where you need an element of surprise. It's really pretty easy to imagine those circumstances.
posted by footnote at 3:48 PM on November 28, 2006


Every time I've seen documentary footoage of a "knock and announce" prior to breaching a door the entire sequence happens in like maybe 3 seconds. It's KNOCK-"POLICE!"-BATTERING RAM thingy. Even if you were standing right by the front door I doubt if you would comprehend what was happening in that short amount of time. If you were in another room or sleeping all you are likely to be aware of is a loud noise and then a bunch of guys in black with guns screaming at you. Have somebody shine 3 modern hi-power flashlights in your eyes at night and see if you can read what is written on their t-shirts.

Getting rid of these absurd fast-entry military fire-team style raids should be a freaking no-brainer for anything except maybe a no-options hostage situation. Without them you risk small quanities of drugs getting flushed down the toilet. With them you risk accidentally igniting a meth lab, provoking a residential firefight with an armed criminal or baffled but otherwise law-abiding citizen or killing a completely innocent person because you got the wrong address. Police, suspects and bystanders in the vicinity would all be much safer and I fail to see how it would seriously impede legitimate searches of a residence. Police focus should be on de-escalation and PEACE keeping. Escalation is a job for the Marines.
posted by well_balanced at 3:50 PM on November 28, 2006 [4 favorites]


How embarrassing. Can we finally admit the War on Drugs™ is a futile cause for the criminal justice system?

In the interim, it would be great if, for every wrong house raid, someone gets fired. If fatalities occur, someone needs to be prosecuted.
posted by effwerd at 3:53 PM on November 28, 2006


drstein : "At least this one had the means to defend herself from what she considered to be a home invasion."

I don't think you can call it "the means to defend yourself" if you end up dead at the end of it. Perhaps "the means to attempting to defend yourself".
posted by Bugbread at 3:53 PM on November 28, 2006


I've never lived in Atlanta, but I have lived in cities like Atlanta. Sick cities, rife with the sores of human nature and secretly weeping at the crimes of the people that call it their home.

The cops beat up an old lady. We consider this horrific because the police are supposed to be paragons of morality and upstanding righteousness. But the police are just people, like you and I, and how is it fair to hold them to an higher standard when people just like them still rape, kill, steal and lie each and every day? Beneath the shadows of unfeeling skyscrapers, we commit sundry crimes against decency each and every day, yet we expect the police to rise above it all and conduct themselves with the utmost conduct to shine as stars of righteousness. We expect the police to brilliantly illuminate the many hotel windows from which strangers gaze at our alien cityscapes, to show that this is a place where Good People live and Bad People leave.

I don't buy it. What these police did was a terrible thing, but it was no more terrible than the numerous terrible things that have been done by man against his brothers and sisters while I type this comment. What this act reflects is the sad, true nature of man; there can be no people without crime. There can be no people without murder. There can be no people without the ruthless savaging of the innocent for imagined wrongs and the ruthless savaging of the innocent for our own shame at our shortcomings.

I will never support acts like this; but I will never support the bald-faced lie that we have any right to condescend the men and women in uniform because we are somehow better. We aren't. We are all human. And as humans, we are all just marking away the time in units of suffering, deception and curses laid against those we imagine to be our enemies.
posted by kfx at 3:54 PM on November 28, 2006


kfx : "We expect the police to brilliantly illuminate the many hotel windows from which strangers gaze at our alien cityscapes, to show that this is a place where Good People live and Bad People leave."

I suppose if you are really into LSD, that's what you do. Most of us sober folks don't really associate police with lighting rooms or alien landscapes.
posted by Bugbread at 3:59 PM on November 28, 2006 [1 favorite]


I would hardly call expecting the people you arm and pay to protect you to also not kill you in the process a "higher standard." I would call that the obvious minimum expectation.
posted by well_balanced at 4:01 PM on November 28, 2006 [2 favorites]


But the police are just people, like you and I, and how is it fair to hold them to an higher standard when people just like them still rape, kill, steal and lie each and every day?

What part of 'they are paid to do that' didn't you get? They are, by definition, professionals at the law, and should be held to an enormously higher standard than are others.
posted by Malor at 4:04 PM on November 28, 2006


kfx writes "But the police are just people, like you and I, and how is it fair to hold them to an higher standard when people just like them still rape, kill, steal and lie each and every day?"

I totally agree: these police officers should be held to exactly the same standard as any other citizen who breaks into a house and shoots an old lady to death. Unfortunately, it seems that they are being held to a much lower standard than you or I would be. I certainly couldn't get away with murder like this.
posted by mr_roboto at 4:11 PM on November 28, 2006


FBI To Lead Johnston Investigation... [via]

Not the kind of intervention you see everyday, though I'm not sure you can read that much into the action by itself.
posted by 10sball at 4:12 PM on November 28, 2006


This harkens back to a post by ryoshu, comprising links from Cato.org. Echoed here for sake of convenience:

Interactive map of botched police raids (cato.org)

Overkill: The Rise of Paramilitary Police Raids in America.

Eastern Kentucky University criminologist Peter Kraska, a widely cited expert on the "militarization" of domestic police departments, estimates that the number of SWAT team deployments has jumped from 3,000 a year in the early 1980s to more than 40,000 a year by the early 2000s.
posted by kid ichorous at 4:15 PM on November 28, 2006


The no-knock warrant is intended to be used where you need an element of surprise. It's really pretty easy to imagine those circumstances.

Such circumstances exist, to be sure, but I think there was definitely some more information gathering that could have been done here to determine if this was in fact one of those situations. I'd posit that it was not.
posted by juv3nal at 4:25 PM on November 28, 2006


To my read, this begins and ends as a failure for the police department. They had faulty intelligence that they did not properly investigate before entering a potentially dangerous situation. They entered what they nominally believed to be a drug house in such a way that all three of them were able to be injured by a single shooter. The tactics they used allowed someone to get shots off at them forcing them to fire back and thus killing an innocent person that was defending her home.

If they want to be all cool and tactical and use their no-knock warrants, they need to be trained appropriately. What should have happened is that they went in, using the proper house clearing procedure, deployed themselves in such a way that they were able to take down the target without the target getting a shot off. This would prevent them from having to retaliate and no one would have been killed.

To put this another way, imagine if they had gone up against the hardened criminal they were expecting, whatever entry tactic they used was such an abject failure that all of them would probably be dead. They managed to all get wounded by a single old woman firing off 5 rounds.

Actually, let me amend that; what they should have done was actual police work to determine whether or not they should have even entered the house in the first place.

It's a tragedy, and I can understand why the cops shot back, but this was a woman [rightly] defending her home. Their failure to properly investigate, poor use of tactics, and forced escalation caused this tragedy.

On every level, it's their fault.
posted by quin at 4:26 PM on November 28, 2006 [2 favorites]


Further: as has been stated above, this should be held up as a shining example of the failure of the War On Drugs. I want my cops to be protecting people from having their houses broken, not doing the breaking and entering themselves.
posted by quin at 4:30 PM on November 28, 2006


"The officers were wearing vests with POLICE across the front;
"They announced they were police when they charged in;
"So what if she's elderly? Should they have asked for her AARP card before returning fire? Do bullets not count when fired by a retiree?"


So what. Do we live in Argentina now? So what if she knew they WERE cops. Since when can't a citizen DEFEND themselves from the hired goons of the state? You say her age isn't an excuse? Why are their fucking BADGES any more an excuse? Are their lives automatically worth more than hers? Was she an imminent danger to the community at large? No. But those cops have sure demonstrated THEY are.

She lives in neighborhood of a particular socio-economic class and race from which cops regularly shoot people with almost no consequence. She should have shot their asses anyway busting in her house with out offering up a warrant and with guns drawn.

The ignorance of old age is astounding in this thread. A 92 year old isn't can’t read "Police" vest in the dark, anyway. Hell, without my glasses it's hard enough for me. And it's not like crooks don't frigg'n pose as cops to gain entry during home invasions.

Nuh. Uh. The cops are the ones SUPPOSED to be trained to do this shit – they’re the ones who don't go to jail for shooting mother fuckers in the back. The burden is on them. We only LOAN them the power.

What's the worst that happens when the cops actually find out who is the house and serving warrants FIRST before gaining entry? You mean another drug dealer might go free? Lordy! Not that!

She shot six cops who had the arrogance to think they have unchallenged power to enter a citizens home at their discretion? Maybe NOW they will think twice before stampeding over the rights of a citizen. MAYBE they will actually catch real criminals.

She should get a fucking medal. Posthumously unfortunately.
posted by tkchrist at 4:32 PM on November 28, 2006 [8 favorites]


What these police did was a terrible thing, but it was no more terrible than the numerous terrible things that have been done by man against his brothers and sisters

(Oh brother, it's the Michael Richards thread all over again.) OK, granted, we're all terrible, but I don't see a lot of comments here singling out these particular cops, or police officers in general, for being egregiously bad humans. I'm happy to accept that they're more-or-less decent people, who are probably horrified by what happened. But when asinine erosion of the 4th Amendment, and asinine hyper-militarization of police forces, and asinine stress levels and unnecessarily violent work environments and cullture, all of which result directly from the asinine drug laws, create a situation where this scenario happens over and over and over again, then it's not holier-than-thou to be angry.

[cue Pollyanna] Humans don't have to be as terrible as we are, but we will be if we don't demand better.
posted by FelliniBlank at 4:35 PM on November 28, 2006


i'm not anti-old-lady by any means, but this is no worse than any other unjustified police shooting. and by "no worse" i mean that the war on drugs is a criminal fraud on the public, and that the rehnquist and roberts courts are colluding with the executive branch to excise the 4th amendment from the constitution.
posted by facetious at 4:41 PM on November 28, 2006


There's a good post at Patterico's about use of force and an often undiscussed third way to serve warrants:

Prof. Klinger said that, while the debate appears to be between dynamic entries and a polite knock on the door, there is a third and better option that he prefers in most cases. It is called “contain and call-out,” and he hasn’t seen it discussed on any of the blogs.

The idea is this: you set up a perimeter so nobody can get away, and have the police take up secure positions surrounding the location — hiding behind barriers so they can’t be shot. Then someone gets on a bullhorn (or makes a phone call into the location) and tells the occupants that police are there to serve a search warrant, and that they need to come out of the house.

Prof. Klinger acknowledged that when police use this approach, they lose evidence. If the house contains any narcotics that can be flushed, you can be certain that they will be flushed — especially as the use of this tactic becomes widely known by criminals. But, he asked, the question is whether it’s worth risking the lives of police officers (and possibly of innocent civilians) to go after dope. He said that, around the nation, many police departments are concluding that it’s not worth it to do dynamic entries in most drug cases — at least cases where police have no reason to suspect that the drug sellers are violent.

posted by ryoshu at 4:43 PM on November 28, 2006


You won your right to bear arms - this is the consequence.
posted by strawberryviagra at 4:43 PM on November 28, 2006


The no-knock warrant is intended to be used where you need an element of surprise. It's really pretty easy to imagine those circumstances.
.....

Such circumstances exist, to be sure,


Not to bust a petty drug dealer they don't. Hell no.

This is the problem. The police have managed to convince us that their obligations are not to the constitution but to some vague notion of "morality" that rises above the rule of law.

Petty crime is as American as apple pie and pornography. Let's get over it already.

That we loan nearly the same war powers and toys to Cops as we loan our foreign intelligence services and military should be TERRIFYING to a good citizen. Every po-dunk town in this country has a SWAT assault team, a tank, automatic weapons - enough hardware to lay siege to Falujah. It's fucking absurd.

And look what good it all does? None. Just think "Columbine" and tell me why those cops had all those toys and sat on their fat asses outside that school and didn't do shit. They could SEE kids getting killed.

When will it sink in to Americans that cops don't have those toys to protect YOU. They are there to fatten the budget, play soldier, and, inevitably, to oppress you.
________

Note to Smed.

Damn you. You know how this riles me. This was supposed to be the year of the NEW "nice" TK. Keep the blood pressure down. Do I have to bring a note from my doctor?

The next five posts better be about puppies and kittens from you Smed.
posted by tkchrist at 4:48 PM on November 28, 2006


Oddly enough, no they didn't mention finding anything......
posted by IronLizard

Lotsa conflicting reports - this’ from the CNN link:
“Investigators also said they found drugs in the home after Johnston was killed.
Officer Joe Cobb, a police spokesman, said the type of drug involved would not be disclosed until it was verified by the crime lab.”

“The old lady who sold my friends and I pot and acid back in high school was in a wheelchair.”

Clearly we should all have our rights rescinded so she can be summarially executed by an arbitrary group of law enforcement officials.


“I could have done without the lame anti-gun link from the Daily Herald”
Yeah. But it’s an interesting (albeit bizarre) POV.

I suspect she might well be alive if she didn’t open fire on police officers. Of course, this completely ignores the other issues. But that stupidity aside it raises the question - would you rather have the cops kicking in your door (im in Ur house, killin Ur dogs) and have no protection from criminals other than those same police or would you rather be dead?

Because if she had opened fire on criminals they most likely would have fled and she’d be alive.

“...yet we expect the police to rise above it all and conduct themselves with the utmost conduct to shine as stars of righteousness.”

No, we have systems in place to ensure that they act in accordance with the law and operate within the authority vested in them. This is the difference between serving and criminal behavior.
Laws are supposed to protect police officers as well from tragedies like this. Because we recognize that sometimes you do have to make inhuman decisions. For that you have these systems, codes, laws in place to rely upon.

I accept, for example, killing the enemy as a warfighters work as a matter of course. He is vested with that purpose and authority by the people and the constitution of the United States.
I do not accept that same soldier torturing or purposefully (with intent before the fact) harming an innocent civilian. That would be a crime.
One can abhor killing under any circumstances - and indeed all violence and oppose such purposes as a matter of course. (And that’s a different argument.)
Beyond that however - all violence is not equal.
There is a sharp, definite difference between controlled force and uncontrolled force; between purposeful violence and violence without purpose. Between what is necessary and what is merely expedient.
You can’t throw your hands up and say it’s just human nature.
I would rather get shot than shoot an otherwise harmless old woman. I would rather die than kill an innocent. Does this attitude then make me inhuman?
I am quite capable of extreme violence. I no longer make use of it. When I did, it was done within certain parameters to ensure the purpose was achieved, not because of the true nature of man (although I am a bloodthirsty motherfucker - but that proves my point about systems, not natures).

And that’s whats’ missing here. We don’t ask cops to be paragons of virtue. We ask that they do their jobs, fufill their purpose. It’s not beyond human capability. How is it a vicious bastard like me doesn’t just go around hurting people? A Marine’s job is to kill the enemy. If you are not killing the enemy or you are killing someone other than the enemy, you are not doing your job. You are acting contrary to your objective.

The purpose of a police officers job is to enforce the law (and to protect and serve).
If you are not protecting the public than you are failing. You are not doing your job, and so, should not be a cop.
If the law is not serving the public well and harming the innocent, it is not doing it’s job, and so, should not be the law.
posted by Smedleyman at 4:48 PM on November 28, 2006 [5 favorites]


strawberryviagra: "You won your right to bear arms - this is the consequence."

Ha! So if we repeal the Second Ammendment, the government will start respecting the Fourth again? Tell me another one.
posted by kid ichorous at 4:49 PM on November 28, 2006


This seems like another tragedy involving drugs

What an odd thing to say. There were no drugs involved in the situation whatsoever.
posted by delmoi at 4:51 PM on November 28, 2006


If ordinary citizens weren't allowed guns, the police wouldn't need to go around bristling with weaponry either. Everybody wins.
posted by matthewr at 4:52 PM on November 28, 2006


You won your right to bear arms - this is the consequence.

Her shooting the cops would be a consequence of the right to bear arms. A consequence I am willing to endure.

The cops shooting HER would be a consequence of an eroded 4th amendment and our cops thinking they are 101st Airborne.

A few year back here in Seattle a woman was shot in the back by a no-knock entry team. She had rushed up to grab her infant when they busted in the door. And they shot her THINKING she was gong for a gun.

I see THIS story as more related to that than the cops defending themselves against a "unknown" hostile.

In both cases the no-knock was the cause. Not the 2nd Amendment.
posted by tkchrist at 4:56 PM on November 28, 2006


But the police are just people, like you and I, and how is it fair to hold them to an higher standard when people just like them still rape, kill, steal and lie each and every day?

If they're not going to hold themselves to standards higher then that of a rapist or murder, why on earth would you want to give them a badge, a gun, or any legal authority? I mean we'd be better off without them entirely in that case.

Plus, if any one of us shot an old lady by mistake we would have a lot of problems on our hands. Not the least of which would be an eventual manslaughter charge. Not so for the police.
posted by delmoi at 4:59 PM on November 28, 2006


If ordinary citizens weren't allowed guns, the police wouldn't need to go around bristling with weaponry either. Everybody wins.

If we could magically get rid of all guns I would be happy as a clam. Even though I enjoy shooting guns. I could find another hobby.

But barring the magic gun fairy if guns were banned from the hands of citizens there would, at this point, be ZERO bilateral action on behalf of law enforcement. Because:

A) With 200 million guns in circulation in the US Criminals would surely still have them. Hence why they are criminals.

B) The prestige of LEO officials is directly tied to budgets

C) American cops want to be tough guys with guns. Not European meter-maids.
posted by tkchrist at 5:03 PM on November 28, 2006


You know, if I was going to organize a home invasion for purposes of robbery or whatever, I'd get my crew a set of those "POLICE" duds and a battering ram. Then we'd break down the door and rush in yelling "POLICE" and "GET DOWN" and all that scary stuff. If the cops eventually caught us, they'd be pissed, but would the penalty be any worse than for civilian-clothing home invasion?

My point is: how do you know the guys screaming at you are really cops? Anybody can get those clothes, and anybody can scream that they are cops. How could you really know? It might be better to shoot them first, especially if you're Calamity Jane.

This use of military assault tactics on the homes of American citizens is wrong, and should end. And what well_balanced said.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 5:09 PM on November 28, 2006


Clearly we should all have our rights rescinded so she can be summarily executed by an arbitrary group of law enforcement officials.

I have no idea how you got that as the subtext of my comment. I was merely rebutting an assertion that because she was wheelchair-bound that she couldn't have been a drug dealer. In my mind, she's innocent until (unfortunately, posthumously) proven guilty.

Now, "rights rescinded"? The cops were executing (if you'll pardon the pun) a legal warrant. "Summarily executed"? Can't really comment on that without all the facts (which was actually the whole point of my comment,) and totally allowing for the "something fishy" hypothesis, but if you shoot at cops, they're legally allowed to shoot at you. It's not a summary execution. Unless they planned the raid specifically to kill her (which I don't discount as a possibility either) you're engaging in hyperbole, which helps nothing and no one.
posted by Cyrano at 5:21 PM on November 28, 2006


matthewr: If ordinary citizens weren't allowed guns, the police wouldn't need to go around bristling with weaponry either. Everybody wins.

You're assuming that the trend in paramilitary-style law enforcement correlates with higher gun ownership. I think it's a result of federal and police expansion under the rubric of Drugs and Terror. They're waging what they construe as an international armed conflict - with all the costs and weapons you'd associate with war - on their own soil.
posted by kid ichorous at 5:22 PM on November 28, 2006


at least they didn't stick a toilet plunger up her corpse's ass
posted by matteo at 5:23 PM on November 28, 2006 [1 favorite]


The FBI is now involved. Just found the story on Fark.
posted by drstein at 5:24 PM on November 28, 2006


Also:

You know, if I was going to organize a home invasion for purposes of robbery or whatever, I'd get my crew a set of those "POLICE" duds and a battering ram. Then we'd break down the door and rush in yelling "POLICE" and "GET DOWN" and all that scary stuff.

Has this ever happened? I mean, I'm sure it's happend at least once (what hasn't? Amputee dwarf bukakke maybe, but I'm afraid to do a Google search to confirm that one,) but I've never heard about it happening and it sounds like a situation ripe for a Always Do What The Hijackers Tell You kind of exploit.
posted by Cyrano at 5:25 PM on November 28, 2006


You know, most of the officers I've had contact with (traffic nannies, for the most part) have been what you'd expect...mostly decent folk with a few bristly-mustached assholes thrown in for good measure.

So I don't loathe cops as individuals. I do loathe them as a group more and more, based on this and numerous other offenses against us, plain citizens who in theory grant them their power. I loathe stupid drug laws (having never used any illegal drugs myself I can STILL see how stupid they are), I loathe the mindset of my fellow citizens who run scared and cower before authority, I loathe the Homeland (heil!) Security jerk-fest, I loathe stupid-as-shit stuff like dumping harmless liquids into containers while you want and see if you're the John Smith on the brilliant no-fly list (my wife and I have refused to fly since you had to act like you were wearing a yellow star-of-david to get in a boxcar on a plane to go anywhere). Are we as a nation really as timid and weak as we seem? Any and all terrorists must be laughing their heads off--they pulled it off, they really did win.

This sad situation is just another bruise on an already beaten body.

Remind me, when do we get robocop?
posted by maxwelton at 5:26 PM on November 28, 2006


Kind of related, but I was just thinking earlier whilst in the men's room that there ought to be some kind of strict reform on the use of undercover/plainclothes police officers done at the federal level.

At any rate, t seems most of the violence publicized recently and in the past perpetrated by cops out of uniform has been a hugely disproportionate response. Perhaps they don't like wearing the blue uniform because then they don't feel like TV stars.
posted by Burhanistan at 5:27 PM on November 28, 2006


Kirth Gerson : If the cops eventually caught us, they'd be pissed, but would the penalty be any worse than for civilian-clothing home invasion?

Well, they could tack on 'impersonating a police officer', but at that point, I think it would be the least of your problems.

It's not really funny, or on topic, but as I was explaining this to a coworker, I realized that this is a excellent parallel to the war in Iraq: Initiated over faulty intelligence, rushed into without additional investigation. The attacking party was unprepared for the level of resistance they encountered, and responded with an over use of force that left both sides worse for the encounter.
posted by quin at 5:29 PM on November 28, 2006


Cyrano:
Here
Here
Here
Here


quin: Well, they could tack on 'impersonating a police officer', but at that point, I think it would be the least of your problems.

That's what I was thinking, too. If you read those links, the impersonating charge seems like almost an afterthought.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 5:40 PM on November 28, 2006


C) American cops want to be tough guys with guns. Not European meter-maids.

Maybe that's the problem. Solution: pussify the job so it stops attracting people who are interested because they seek power , penis compensation, and guns, train up the new generation of meter-maid law enforcement, then give them guns :-)

at least they didn't stick a toilet plunger up her corpse's ass

Damn. Kind of depressing that this is a silver lining these days.
posted by -harlequin- at 6:00 PM on November 28, 2006


“The tactics they used allowed someone to get shots off at them forcing them to fire back and thus killing an innocent person that was defending her home.”

gah! first thing I thought of I kept forgetting to comment. nice spot quin


“Damn you.”
Way, way ahead of you there tkchrist. If I see you down in the 7th circle I’ll buy you a cold one. Kittens? Me? Good points btw.

“I have no idea how you got that as the subtext of my comment.”
I didn’t. It’s tongue in cheek.

“you're engaging in hyperbole, which helps nothing and no one.” - posted by Cyrano

Yep, fair enough. I do that. Sorry.
I will address the legal warrant idea tho. What is legal and what our civil rights are aren’t always in alignment. And if I shoot at a cop...well, he’s not going to be shooting back, but let’s say it’s many years from now and I’m 95 years old...and drunk...and have cataracts...an I’m stumbling over my grandkid’s toys - if the cop shoots back at me and there is a mistake on the part of the police department, that might be ‘legal’, in the sense they have a legal warrent for “someone on metafilter with a ‘z’ in their name” but considering I don’t have the ‘z’ they’re invading my home illegally. Their warrant might cover my address, but it’s still a crime. Is it a crime when I intend to obey the speed limit, but my spedometer is broken? Same deal.

And again, they screwed this up royally from a tactical standpoint. Just some wannabe cowboys. Done right, I shouldn’t have a chance...well, not me, but this hypothetical 95 year old blind drunk smedleyman tripping on the kids toys...to initiate a firefight.
So either she doesn’t match the description of who’s on the warrant in which case you know something is wrong and you should retreat, take cover and attempt to communicate to protect potentially innocent lives - even allowing for supressive fire - or you can’t identify the target firing at you, in which case you shoot to kill.
If it’s the latter - than I’d think a group of experianced officers would have been more than a match for one old lady and wouldn’t have taken that many hits. Or she’s the oft-sung in cadence hard assed granny trained in CQB (who is now drilling St. Peter in PT).
No, I think maybe she got off a shot, they got pissed off and engaged her, closed, (which took time, which she used to shoot more) and then killed her on purpose.
But you’re correct, given the information that’s speculation.


“If ordinary citizens weren't allowed guns, the police wouldn't need to go around bristling with weaponry either. Everybody wins.” -posted by matthewr

Seriously? ‘Cos the logical conclusion is to stop making them to prevent criminals from getting them. I mean the technology is there. I’m a fair armorer (took the Sally Field correspondence course in Gun Repair don’tcha know) and I know some machinists and chemists....
Sorry to leap the whole ‘only criminals’ to ‘secure military armories’ debate there, but it’s pretty hackneyed.
Rather than addressing changing the entire American culture on guns in particular and glamorization of violence in general, I’d really rather cut folks some slack on the drug laws rather than blame firearms as getting in the way of enforcement of these stoopit laws.
posted by Smedleyman at 6:02 PM on November 28, 2006


Not to derail, but I think that was Sally Struthers, Smed.

Other than that, amen.
posted by Pollomacho at 6:07 PM on November 28, 2006


It doesn't take a great deal of imagination to figure out the reason behind these stats. It's why there is a nuclear non-proliferation agreement - to avoid the constant escalation and the no turning back.

You've got yourselves a big problem there - unfortunately, like other bad elements of American culture, it's catching on here.
posted by strawberryviagra at 6:10 PM on November 28, 2006


“Amputee dwarf bukakke”

This one time, at band camp...

(We need more amputee dwarf bukakke posts. I’ll get right on it. Chainsaw - check. Testicles - check. Dwarf?)

Struthers. Right.
*defiantly holds up ‘Union’ sign*
lousy smart alek collich kids with their googles
posted by Smedleyman at 6:13 PM on November 28, 2006


The woman's home was invaded. She defended herself.

In this case, fuck the police.
posted by aerotive at 6:27 PM on November 28, 2006


Who shot who aside, I just can't get this particular song out of my mind, because I believe it points to a much bigger problem. Funny, it was pointing this out before I was even born.
posted by grabbingsand at 6:30 PM on November 28, 2006 [1 favorite]


kid ichorous: You're assuming that the trend in paramilitary-style law enforcement correlates with higher gun ownership.

I don't pretend that changes in police practices are entirely caused by changes in gun ownership. But it seems obvious that arming the police and populace with guns will lead to vastly more police shootings (and murder in general).

The UK has some of the strictest anti-gun laws in the world, with a handgun ban and an almost entirely unarmed police force. In the last 12 years, the police in the whole of the UK have fatally shot a total of 30 people (link). Mostly, these shootings have been in cases where the victim fired at police, wielded a samurai sword or pointed a gun at the police. A tiny number of innocent people (notably Jean Charles de Menezes) have been shot by armed police.

I don't know what the figures are for police shootings in the US, but it seems reasonable to conclude that the UK is far safer because the populace and police do not carry guns.
posted by matthewr at 6:33 PM on November 28, 2006


Kirth Gerson: Fair enough. But my point was geared more towards the Wearing The Jackets theme (only one of your links mentioned that, to my slightly buzzed readings.) I'm pretty sure someone could knock down my door wearing a red hat with a poofy ball on top claiming to be Santa Claus and I'd be so disoriented that I'd be asking him if he wanted cookies and milk. Might actually work better than the "Police" jackets, now that I think about it.

I didn’t. It’s tongue in cheek.

Fair enough again. I'm being remarkable conciliatory tonight. Could you be a dickhead in about two more hours when I'm full of gin?

Their warrant might cover my address, but it’s still a crime.

Part of me wants to agree with you, but part of me wants IAAL to weigh in on this. I agree with your civil rights standpoint, but I'm not sure, police CYA not withstanding, if a botched warrant constitues a crime. (I'm fine if it does, BTW. It should in a situation where lethal force is even a possiblity.)

Is it a crime when I intend to obey the speed limit, but my spedometer is broken?

Actually, in some places I think it is, in the sense that you'll still get a ticket. It gets folded into "Ignorance of the law is no excuse." Again, maybe an I Am A Lawyer member can weigh in on that one.
posted by Cyrano at 6:36 PM on November 28, 2006


I'm not sure I understand your question? The police could certainly announce even if they had a no-knock warrant. The no-knock warrant doesn't require them not to knock.

It wasn't really a question, just a clarification. Your comment explained why they would go to the trouble of getting a no-knock (not that it's much more) as opposed to your garden variety type. Which happened to be a question just above your comment. But nevermind.
posted by IronLizard at 6:48 PM on November 28, 2006


Let this be a lesson to all the cheapskate oldsters who let their hearing aid batteries run down. You save a buck and spend your life. Penny wise-pound foolish.
posted by notreally at 6:48 PM on November 28, 2006


"The woman's home was invaded. She defended herself."

The idea that picking up your gun and shooting people is an acceptable response to property damage, burglary and theft is incomprehensible to me. Thankfully, in Britain we lock this kind of person up. Perhaps if Britain had a larger number of 'home invasions' I would be more sympathetic to homeowners who respond with this kind of disproportionate lethal force, but thanks in large part to anti-gun laws, we don't. Along with most Britons, I don't think I will ever understand the American attitude to guns.
posted by matthewr at 6:49 PM on November 28, 2006


The links were just the easily-harvested ones from a Google search. Even if none of those were wearing Tha Jackets, it doesn't invalidate my point: how could you be sure? Those jackets are a lot more useful in keeping the cops from shooting each other than they are in convincing citizens that the guys wearing them and yelling are real. I doubt that the cops actually care whether the yellees believe they are legit, so long as they do what they're told.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 6:50 PM on November 28, 2006


Err, not question, statement:

Mr_roboto:
It is a fact that the police had obtained a "no knock" warrant, so they were not required to announce themselves. More recent statements from the Atlanta PD have the officers announcing themselves as they were breaking down the door, rather than previous to breaking down the door.

You:
If they did have a no-knock warrant, then the recent case Hudson v. Michigan does not apply -- the no-knock warrant means the evidence would be admissible in any event, and the legality of no-knock warrants was established well prior to Hudson. Breyer's dissent points this out.

Dovetails nicely there.
posted by IronLizard at 6:50 PM on November 28, 2006


matthewr : I don't know what the figures are for police shootings in the US, but it seems reasonable to conclude that the UK is far safer because the populace and police do not carry guns.

Because I really don't think that it will improve the thread, I'll try to avoid turning this into a gun debate, but for the record, the BBC disagrees with you.

But despite, or because, of this, violent crime in America has been plummeting for 10 consecutive years, even as British violence has been rising. By 1995 English rates of violent crime were already far higher than America's for every major violent crime except murder and rape.

posted by quin at 7:05 PM on November 28, 2006



The idea that picking up your gun and shooting people is an acceptable response to property damage, burglary and theft is incomprehensible to me.


If, upon having one's home broken into, one could ever be certain that the crime would be limited to the above, then it would be a different matter, but when someone armed breaks into your house, I don't see how you can't understand someone fearing for their personal safety on top of all those things.
posted by juv3nal at 7:13 PM on November 28, 2006


This seems like another tragedy involving drugs.
Seems like another tragedy involving the over-escalated war on drugs to me.

People often get things like this wrong; for instance, it's the love of money that's the root of all evil, not money itself (at least, acc. to Paul).
posted by adoarns at 7:20 PM on November 28, 2006


Because I really don't think that it will improve the thread, I'll try to avoid turning this into a gun debate

Fair enough. The first thing that struck me on reading this post was that the ultimate cause of this woman's death and the policemens' injuries is gun ownership, IMHO.

but for the record, the BBC disagrees with you.

That was an opinion article written by a pro-gun American academic. The fact that the BBC invited her to express her opinion on their site certainly doesn't imply that the BBC supports her views.

In fact, there is virtually no debate in Britain about our anti-gun legislation, not because of any media or government repression, but simply because there is an overwhelming consensus that guns are a Bad Thing.

During Tony Martin's trial, there was some debate about the right of homeowners to respond with force, but no-one seriously advocated relaxation of gun laws or increased gun ownership.

The UK murder and rape rates are far lower than the US rates. The number of police shootings is also minuscule in the UK compared to the US.

The definition of violent crime in the UK is broad enough that half of all crimes recorded as violent involve no injury to the victim. As well as 'assaults' that cause no injury, harassment is included in violent crime statistics.
posted by matthewr at 7:34 PM on November 28, 2006 [1 favorite]


"Chief Pennington has been in some sticky situations before."
posted by Kwantsar

So have I... Oh wait... Wrong thread... Sorry!
posted by symbioid at 7:38 PM on November 28, 2006


Matthewr: Along with most Britons, I don't think I will ever understand the American attitude to guns.

And I can't understand how a Londoner could tolerate cameras on every streetcorner. But it's getting that way here, too.

Matt, there's an entire spectum of things out there to be "safe" from, and a price tag on every one. I'd rather take my risks with the bogeyman of "terror" than forego my right to privacy. I'd rather deal with the social costs of alcohol, devastating as they may be, than reintroduce prohibition. And I'd rather fear the stray bullet than cede the second ammendment altogether.

Given that we are mortal, and that none of us can be safe forever, the best we can do is make reasonable exchanges in our best interests. Is it really in my interest to start selling the bill of rights back to the government? What am I really giving? What am I really getting in return? Will the next generation be grateful for what I've done, or will I set them back?
posted by kid ichorous at 7:43 PM on November 28, 2006


juvenal: I suppose I was mixing up life in Britain with the situation in America.

In Britain, shooting a burglar when your life was not imminently and seriously threatened would, I believe*, be regarded as unreasonable force and you would be held criminally responsible.

If I was in America, of course the situation would be somewhat different, knowing that the burglar was in all probability carrying a gun. That still doesn't justify the 'stand-your-ground' laws in some states, which seem barbaric to me.

*IANAL
posted by matthewr at 7:44 PM on November 28, 2006


matthewr : That was an opinion article written by a pro-gun American academic. The fact that the BBC invited her to express her opinion on their site certainly doesn't imply that the BBC supports her views.

I did not know that, so as you said; fair enough. What I was actually looking for when I found that article was the statistics for non-gun related violent crime in the UK, which if my memory serves is actually pretty significant. Specifically in relation to knives and blunt objects.

However, since I don't have any reliable numbers on hand, I'll drop the argument. But I did like what kid ichorous had to say upthread. Sums up my feelings pretty well.
posted by quin at 8:08 PM on November 28, 2006


kid ichorous: I agree with you about things like alcohol, but not this:
And I'd rather fear the stray bullet than cede the second amendment altogether.

I don't see any advantage whatsoever in the idea of gun ownership, though. Do any non-crazy people seriously keep weapons to ensure 'the security of the free state'? Except in the minds of tinfoil-hat wearers with log cabins and blogs, is a 'well regulated militia' really a relevant idea nowadays?

The UK experience shows that outlawing guns doesn't result in a sheeplike populace in permanent fear of gun-toting criminals, or a totalitarian state. The ability to "defend" oneself and one's property by summarily executing burglars who pose no imminent risk isn't something to be proud of.

I can't see a single good thing about gun ownership, and certainly nothing that compensates for a gun murder rate 25 times higher than the UK's.
posted by matthewr at 8:18 PM on November 28, 2006


Since y'all brought it up, pictures from where I lived briefly in the UK. You guys might be headed down the same road, but you still have a real chance to stop it from spreading...
posted by bcveen at 8:20 PM on November 28, 2006


matthewr, we'll have to disagree on this one. I'm no NRA supporter, but my father's heart surgeon shot an intruder in his house last year. It's probably a best-case scenario for this sort of incident -- even though the intruder was unarmed, he was high and unresponsive, and he had trapped the family -- young children inclusive -- between their bedrooms and the exit. The wife was on 911 as the husband got his gun ready and then issued multiple warnings, only to have the guy turn away from the exit stairs and look to enter another room. The surgeon proceeded to shoot him twice, in the back. The DA declined to press charges, essentially saying no jury would convict.

Wisconsin's self-defense laws are "weaker" than a lot of other states (Colorado and Texas, for example, have pretty strong legal backing for shooting home invaders under a broad array of circumstances), but it still comes down to the jury.

As for the Atlanta woman, I have a hard time thinking she did anything wrong. Rash and foolhardy, perhaps, but there's a strong "A man's home is his castle" philosophy underpinning a lot of US jurisprudence.

And I totally agree with Smedleyman and quin that the police used atrocious tactics if three of them got shot by one person. The only thing I can imagine is that they all got into a darkened room thinking it was empty and couldn't see her before she began shooting at them.

There are some pretty basic enter-and-clear tactics that are taught to SWAT teams, federal officers, and the like. In part it's to prevent friendly fire incidents (and wouldn't it be cute if that figured into this too?) as well as the shooting of innocents. They really should never have gotten to that point, and I think the three men down is proof of the general idiocy involved.
posted by dhartung at 8:20 PM on November 28, 2006



The cops beat up an old lady. We consider this horrific because the police are supposed to be paragons of morality and upstanding righteousness. But the police are just people, like you and I, and how is it fair to hold them to an higher standard when people just like them still rape, kill, steal and lie each and every day? Beneath the shadows of unfeeling skyscrapers, we commit sundry crimes against decency each and every day, yet we expect the police to rise above it all and conduct themselves with the utmost conduct to shine as stars of righteousness. We expect the police to brilliantly illuminate the many hotel windows from which strangers gaze at our alien cityscapes, to show that this is a place where Good People live and Bad People leave.


That post is complete and utter bullshit. Its about as fair as it is to allow them to accidently kill citizens and face minor job discipline for actions that would send us directly to jail. Fuck that nonsense these people are shooting old elderly people under Our Authority as citizens. An Idealist position perhaps but I refuse to abdicate responsibility for the actions of a goverment I do not violently resist and that I pay taxes toward. I think anyone who does ignore their culpabilty a moral coward.

They shot her with gun and bullets we paid for,
Entered her house under our authority,

And you're unwilling to hold them Responsible.
I hope at least you take up your own responsibility for their authority.
posted by Rubbstone at 8:23 PM on November 28, 2006


And I totally agree with Smedleyman and quin that the police used atrocious tactics if three of them got shot by one person. The only thing I can imagine is that they all got into a darkened room thinking it was empty and couldn't see her before she began shooting at them.

From what I hear they came at her from 3 directions and she mangaed to tag all of them. In addition she had only purchased the gun after having her home robbed twice at least once by robbers posing as police. I live in walking distance from her house.
posted by Rubbstone at 8:33 PM on November 28, 2006


Rubbstone, if that's the case, I would love to know her instructor. I've been shooting my entire adult life, and I can't say with certainty that I could have pulled that off.

No snark. Six rounds, five hits, multiple attackers, all under the stress of a perceived assault? Seriously, that's impressive for any age.
posted by quin at 8:42 PM on November 28, 2006


It's about time the thread had some Gil Scott Heron
You explained it to me I must admit
but just for the record you were talking shit
y'all rap about no-knock being legislated
for the people you've always hated
in this hellhole you, we call home
no knock, the Man will say
to keep that man from beatin' his wife
no knock, the Man will say
to protect people from themselves
no knockin', head rockin', enter shockin'
shootin' cussin' killin' cryin' lyin' and bein' white
no knock
no knock on my brother Fred Hampton
bullet holes all over the place
no knock on my brother Michael Harris
and jammed a shotgun against his skull
for my protection?
who's gonna protect me from you?
the likes of you?
the nerve of you?
to talk that shit, face to face
your tomato face deadpan
your dead hands ending another freedom fan
no knockin', head rockin', enter shockin'
shootin' cussin' killin' cryin' lyin' and bein' white
but if you're wise, no knocker,
you'll tell your no-knockin' lackeys
ha! no knock on my brother's head,
no knock on my sister's head
no knock on my brother's head,
no knock on my sister's head
and double-lock your door
because soon someone may be no-knockin'
ha ha
for you.
posted by i_am_a_Jedi at 8:54 PM on November 28, 2006


Nice racist song you got there.

Here's a better song for this one:

Drinkin' beer in the hot sun
I fought the law and I won

I needed sex and I got mine
I fought the law and I won

The law don't mean shit if you've got the right friends
That's how the country's run
Twinkies are the best friend I've ever had
I fought the law
And I won

I blew George & Harvey's brains out with my six-gun
I fought the law and I won

Gonna write my book and make a million
I fought the law and I won

I'm the new folk hero of the Ku Klux Klan
My cop friends think that's fine
You can get away with murder if you've got a badge
I fought the law
And I won
I am the law
So I won
posted by IronLizard at 9:01 PM on November 28, 2006


This is crap, if she was dangerous enough to warrant a no-knock warrant then there should have been some more serious police presence involved.

They found some pot though so I guess that makes it all okay.

Seriously, the cops fucked up badly and killed an old lady needlessly. If they'd observed the house for a little while then they would have been able to tell that it wasn't a drug house. I know if someone kicks in my door then they're going to A. Get my dog attacking the shit out of them and B. Get me doing everything in my power to protect my family and my house including shooting them.
posted by fenriq at 9:02 PM on November 28, 2006


I could be misinterpreting these photos but they certainly suggest that somebody needs to repeat the Gun Safety and You class. Unless that is plastic replica, Nottinghamshire residents may wish to give this officer a wide berth.
posted by well_balanced at 9:04 PM on November 28, 2006


Good to know that the War on Drugs is going so well. I'm sure it's the model that the War on Terror is being based on
posted by mullingitover at 3:01 PM PST


You forgot the War on Poverty that both are based on.

Now be sure to plant a victory garden to win the war!

(Do I get extra points if I were to provide links to the CIA and drugs? No? Meh then)
posted by rough ashlar at 9:06 PM on November 28, 2006


Let this be a lesson to all the cheapskate oldsters who let their hearing aid batteries run down.
posted by notreally at 6:48 PM PST on


Why? Do you youngsters have something important to say?
posted by rough ashlar at 9:11 PM on November 28, 2006


I can't see a single good thing about gun ownership, and certainly nothing that compensates for a gun murder rate 25 times higher than the UK's.

I think the root difference is that historically America values individual rights, despite the possible untoward consequences. On the other hand, the UK seems to value collective rights, hence the intervention of the government in the affairs of its citizens to a higher degree (sometimes for the better, perhaps socialized health care, sometimes for the worse, nanny state woes). This dichotomy is subject to tons (or tonnes) of disclaimers and hedges, but there is definitely a sort of identity gulf, which may help explain your incomprehension.
posted by Falconetti at 9:12 PM on November 28, 2006


well_balanced, it's a replica. If you look really close in the second and third pictures you can see the holes in the side that are used to screw the two halves together. Real guns don't have this.

Though he probably should have taken that H&K submachine gun off before he got in the car.
posted by quin at 9:14 PM on November 28, 2006


Actually, on closer look it's not an smg, it a carbine. And he should have collapsed the stock. That would have let him carry it across his lap rather than having the muzzle jammed in his ear.
posted by quin at 9:36 PM on November 28, 2006


Anyone else seen a little movie called 'Training Day' ? I'm comfortable betting that a few cops have.
posted by Dr. Boom at 10:00 PM on November 28, 2006


When they kick out your front door
How you gonna come?
With your hands on your head
Or on the trigger of your gun

When the law break in
How you gonna go?
Shot down on the pavement
Or waiting in death row

You can crush us
You can bruise us
But you'll have to answer to
Oh, Guns of Brixton

The money feels good
And your life you like it well
But surely your time will come
As in heaven, as in hell

You see, he feels like Ivan
Born under the Brixton sun
His game is called survivin'
At the end of the harder they come

You know it means no mercy
They caught him with a gun
No need for the Black Maria
Goodbye to the Brixton sun

You can crush us
You can bruise us
But you'll have to answer to
Oh-the guns of Brixton

When they kick out your front door
How you gonna come?
With your hands on your head
Or on the trigger of your gun

You can crush us
You can bruise us
And even shoot us
But oh- the guns of Brixton

Shot down on the pavement
Waiting in death row
His game was survivin'
As in heaven as in hell

You can crush us
You can bruise us
But you'll have to answer to
Oh, the guns of Brixton
Oh, the guns of Brixton
Oh, the guns of Brixton
Oh, the guns of Brixton
Oh, the guns of Brixton
posted by strawberryviagra at 10:08 PM on November 28, 2006 [1 favorite]


I think the root difference is that historically America values individual rights

of white people
posted by matteo at 2:33 AM on November 29, 2006


You forgot the War on Poverty that both are based on.

Please tell me you don't seriously believe that.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 3:41 AM on November 29, 2006


strawberryviagra wins the 'Best Song' prize.
posted by matthewr at 4:17 AM on November 29, 2006


The surgeon proceeded to shoot him twice, in the back.

Multiple warning ? A person high that doesn't obey to "Multiple warning" ? I would kind of expect a surgeon to know the basic of human functioning and to know an intoxicated person doesn't behave like a non-intoxicated person.

Maybe shooting a couple times in the air and then pointing the gun to the person could have scared and convinced the drugged , as LOUD pistol shot scares people even intoxicated ones may find a moment of lucidity ?

But the surgeon was , probably, scared as well with lots of adrenaline flowing , scared as probably the 90 something was by a violent sudden intrusion.

I have the sensation it is not the gun, but the Far West mentality , indeed the armed extension of "one man and his castle" philosophy that doesn't produce good results, expecially when combined with poverty, insufficient education and frustrating lack of opportunities.
posted by elpapacito at 4:42 AM on November 29, 2006


If I was in America, of course the situation would be somewhat different, knowing that the burglar was in all probability carrying a gun.

I don't think that there's a great probability that a burglar is carrying a gun at all. But people who come, in a group, and break down your door and run into your house screaming and yelling orders and threats aren't burglars. Even if they aren't police, they aren't burglars, they're home invaders, and home invaders aren't benign property criminals. When they come into a house that's occupied, the risk of harm to the occupants is almost 100%, whether that harm is assault or rape or death. Where I come from, using lethal force against a group of violent, armed strangers intruding into your home for unknown purposes is called prudence.
posted by Dreama at 5:07 AM on November 29, 2006


You forgot the War on Poverty that both are based on.
Please tell me you don't seriously believe that.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 3:41 AM PST


Like many wars of the greatest military power on the planet, this war was won along time ago. Notice the lack of poverty in the US of A.

I'm sure the War on Drugs and the War on Terror will be won. If fact, the lack of talking about the War on Drugs, that must have been won.
posted by rough ashlar at 5:23 AM on November 29, 2006


The UK experience shows that outlawing guns doesn't result in a sheeplike populace in permanent fear of gun-toting criminals, or a totalitarian state. The ability to "defend" oneself and one's property by summarily executing burglars who pose no imminent risk isn't something to be proud of.

This has not so much to do with fear of burglary as it does fear of getting raped and/or killed. I've known more than a few paranoid 88/92-year-old women. This is on their minds a lot.

So you're this old woman who fears being raped and killed, who has had your house already broken into twice, cannot move out of the neighborhood, and know that were things to happen and you called 911 the authorities would maybe get there in time to chalk a line around your cooling body on the floor. What do you do? I know what I would do: buy myself a weapon to protect myself.

Then, one night when I'm tooling around at home or maybe already in bed, I hear a ruckus at my front door: guys shouting something and then the slamming and splintering of wood as the front is caved in. I'm not sure what's going on, but I know that I'm afraid. Jesus, someone is here to kill me! So what do I do, sit patiently? Hell no.

These raids are freaking violent. They bust down your door with a battering ram. They're shouting. They've got guns. At night they have bright flashlights so that if you are on the other end of them you can't see shit. Did I mention they're shouting?

It's little wonder they get a fight or flight response from people, even innocent people when they are scared and not sure what the hell is going on.
posted by moonbiter at 5:30 AM on November 29, 2006 [1 favorite]


A heart surgeon who can't afford an alarm system?
posted by pleeker at 6:21 AM on November 29, 2006


well_balanced - it's a Western Arms SVI airsoft pistol - a gas powered pistol costing about £150. I bet the divot that had it confiscated feels a bit fucking stupid now. I also reckon everyone on the UKAF thinks he is is a bit of a knobend for furthering the calls to ban their hobby.
posted by longbaugh at 6:25 AM on November 29, 2006


A surgeon who believes in the new Hippocratic oath: First, waste no ammo.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 8:02 AM on November 29, 2006


There is an interesting article on the right to bear arms in this months (December's) Harpers. It's by Garret Keizer, and makes the case for gun ownership. (It was a strange thing to read in Harpers.)
posted by chunking express at 8:47 AM on November 29, 2006


dhartung : but my father's heart surgeon shot an intruder in his house last year.

elpapacito : Maybe shooting a couple times in the air and then pointing the gun to the person could have scared and convinced the drugged , as LOUD pistol shot scares people even intoxicated ones may find a moment of lucidity?

Shooting in the air when you are indoors is probably not the best idea. I don't necessarily disagree with the concept of warning shots, but in this case doing so would have put the surgeons family and neighbors at an even greater risk.
posted by quin at 9:15 AM on November 29, 2006


What was the guy doing exactly that would have warrented shooting him? Unless he proved a bodily threat, I think the surgeon was wrong to shoot him.

As far as the topic of the post, I can see both sides - depending on what the actual facts of the case are, which we will probably never know.
posted by agregoli at 10:14 AM on November 29, 2006



“Could you be a dickhead in about two more hours when I'm full of gin?” - posted by Cyrano

Uh, what? YOU’RE being remarkable conciliatory (sic)?
Yeah, apologizing and admitting you are right, Jesus, I’m such an asshole for that. Maybe I need some counseling.
On the other hand, I’m not the one hitting the gin, unsure of one of the most productive affixes in the English language, and is unclear as to whether I’m Kirth Gerson. Go trade insults with someone less remarkably conciliatory than I am - I agreed what I said was over the top hyperbole and I said I’m sorry and I fucking well mean I’m sorry.


“From what I hear they came at her from 3 directions and she mangaed to tag all of them.” - Rubbstone

Which is what leads me to believe it was murder on the part of the officers involved. (I’m curious who their training officer is.) I don’t know what it is about police officers - maybe not enough combat veterans on the forces anymore - but they seem to simply refuse to either take cover or retreat and reengage.
Even when trained that way. FBI agents used to be like this, not so much anymore (although many other agencies are).
In the street, if you have to stop an armed hardened criminal from escaping, you can’t break off because you don’t want him to get away, grab a hostage, etc. But in a house there’s no reason not to reset the tempo and when it’s not in your favor. And in this case it manifestly wasn’t. They’d obviously lost suprise (either way - if they announced or if she got the drop on them). They sat there in the fatal funnel and fired back.
All that aside (I hate to micromanage...but y’know in this case it’s hard to do worse) - why do a dynamic entry in the first place? Hostages? Contain evidence? If it’s the former then wasn’t there any intel as to y’know - an old lady being there?
The point being, they had all kinds of time and could have dominated the entry and not gotten hurt instead of trying to rely on speed and get some sort of glory.

One of the things from the Herald piece struck me as relevant to that last point from both the police and civilian perspectives:
“I have a problem with guns as a response to social programs,” Burbick says. When we pitch guns as an answer, “we have no social imagination.”

Which is what it will take to remedy the situation. I’m extremely pro-gun. But that does indeed only go so far. I could probably kill a lot of cops in any given scenario, but I’m not invulnerable. At some point they will kill me. And it could well be good police officers doing what they think is right.
The systems we set up will protect us better from those kinds of excesses. I’ve always thought that firearms rested in the hands of citizens precisely to spark that social imagination.
“Smed killed 200 cops? Why the hell would they go after him? He’s a law abiding citizen. He mowed my grandma’s lawn. No, that doesn’t sound right...”
Same deal here. If this old lady wasn’t armed, we’d never have heard about them breaking into her home, even if they killed her, they could have pawned it off on some suspect or something. But they can’t do that if officers are shot with her gun.
posted by Smedleyman at 10:28 AM on November 29, 2006


A heart surgeon who can't afford an alarm system?

The guy broke in through the roof, then fell through the ceiling. He was on drugs. He had some connection with a neighbor, and it's possible he thought he was trying to get into that house to sleep.

In any case, it's a safe part of town. Not where I live, but people in this city do leave their back doors or cars unlocked.

I would kind of expect a surgeon to know the basic of human functioning and to know an intoxicated person doesn't behave like a non-intoxicated person.

Well, exactly. He was not responding as a rational person, i.e. a burglar, would have. That's what made him dangerous -- the burglar would have run away.

What was the guy doing exactly that would have warrented shooting him? Unless he proved a bodily threat, I think the surgeon was wrong to shoot him.

Guy falls through your ceiling, corners you, your wife, and your little girls, doesn't respond to your order to get the hell out -- I'd like to see you use that restraint.

The guy survived, after all. He's suing, if you need a laugh.
posted by dhartung at 11:32 AM on November 29, 2006


You said he turned away and then was shot in the back...doesn't sound like he really was threatening anyone despite how scary the whole event must have been. I would have kept a gun on him, but waited for the police, in that situation.
posted by agregoli at 12:08 PM on November 29, 2006


matthewr, you have to understand one very important and absurdly obvious difference between the US and the UK. The US is huge.

I lived in the UK and in most places you are no farther than 10 minutes from a cop.

You know what the average police emergency response time is in Seattle? Something like 20-30 minutes. That's city wide average. Responses in poor neighborhoods is much slower. We don't have enough cops to cover our cities.

I had car jackers/gang bangers shooting at each other in the green belt behind my house once. Rounds whizzing through the branches my apple tree and hitting our chimney. From under a mattress in the bedroom we called the cops. The 911 operator could hear the shots. It still took them over fifteen minutes to get there. By then the guys were long gone. And. Fuck yes I had a loaded shotgun pointed at the door.

The response times for police in most cities, let alone suburban and rural areas, is far too slow to interrupt crimes in progress. The exceptions are very wealthy neighborhoods. Most of those must rely on private security for realistic response times... even then those guys can't rush in and save your ass as they don't have the legal ability nor the training.

Somebody asked why the Surgeon who shot an intruder didn't have an alarm? Maybe he did. Maybe it wasn't on because he was home. Alarms can also be disabled. The surgeon appreciated one fact: Alarms are not there to protect YOU. An alarm is not a force field. They are there to alert you and to deter criminals from spending too much time in your house and taking more of your valuable assets. That's all. And cops know 98% of Alarm calls are bogus. They are low priority.

Alarms are the reason home invasions are on the rise. They happen when you are home and active. Home invaders bust in through the door of places they KNOW have alarms and overwhelm you or they gain entry by subterfuge.

Having a secure place to retreat to and fend intruders off from is ideal. However not everybody can afford "safe rooms". Most people retreat to locked rooms like bathrooms.

My sister-in-law was raped by a guy who broke into her home. She had an alarm. He disabled it and waited for her. She came in the door, noted something was wrong and retreated to a bathroom - suddenly with him in pursuit as he came out of hiding. It took him maybe forty seconds to smash down the door and five minutes to rape her and he was gone. The cops came over a half hour later. The rapist was never caught.

It's too bad she couldn't shoot five rounds through that bathroom door.

This is the reality of crime in America. Our criminals KNOW the LEO's are out numbered.
posted by tkchrist at 12:18 PM on November 29, 2006


“I would have kept a gun on him, but waited for the police, in that situation.”

Reading it, it doesn’t sound like his kids were in the master bedroom with his wife: “The intruder did not comply, and instead turned to enter another area of the residence.”
He ducked into the bathroom then tried to go into other rooms. Which could have meant into the kids’ room. Bit unclear.
In my house he wouldn’t have been alive long enough to wake up my wife or kids.
“Morning dad. What’s with the mop? Why’s your knife in the sink?”
posted by Smedleyman at 12:24 PM on November 29, 2006


Regarding 911: They don't care 'cause they stay paid anyway.
posted by chunking express at 12:28 PM on November 29, 2006


You said he turned away and then was shot in the back...doesn't sound like he really was threatening anyone despite how scary the whole event must have been. I would have kept a gun on him, but waited for the police, in that situation.

You ever been in that situation? With adrenaline pumping and some guy in your house in the middle of the night you try that. With your wife and kids there in terror? Wait for the cops? Why? So they can toe tag your kids bodies? Maybe the guy is gong to retrieve a weapon. If he does not respond ONE warning - and that is all you owe him - tough shit for him.

I should concern my self with WHY this guy is there? I'm not trained to evaluate his psychological state. I'm not a cop.

In that situation I have one responsibility and obligation. And that is to my family.

Let me tell you what MY instinct has been in similar situations... I would kill to protect my family without thinking about it. With what ever is at hand. A gun. A hatchet. A sharpened stick. A lamp. The jaw of an ass. You attack until you or that guy is dead or he has run out of your house.

I'm guessing your instinct would likely be the same.
posted by tkchrist at 12:32 PM on November 29, 2006


What amazes me is that "no-knock" warrants have been around since even before Bush started using the Constitution for toilet paper. Could someone tell me when this was legalized. (Lemme guess, when that other Republican strongman Reagan first started pushing this bogus war on drugs.)

This reminds me of a nonconfrontational incident at my apartment. Management had told tenants we couldn't put our own deadbolt locks on doors. And I'd been left out when they had added crappy little chain locks to other apartments. (Yeah, no good at keeping bad guys out, but at least it keeps a non-threatening person from being able to open the door very far.)

So I (a woman, alone) was taking a nap on the davenport one day when I heard a key in the door and it swung open. It was a maintenance guy - whom I'd not been expecting - walking in without knocking and announcing himself first as they *always* do.

I've often speculated what the legal outcome would've been if I'd had a gun and shot him immediately. (And there's this small part of me, still creeped out by the thought of that encounter, who wishes I could've at least gotten a "scare the crap out of him" shot off.)

Now imagine an elderly woman who perhaps cannot hear or see (her "hits" didn't necessarily have to be well-aimed in close quarters), startled in a much worse way.

(And for the record, I'll never understand the US obssession with guns. Doesn't mean I can't empathize with an elderly woman who's had the bejeebus scared out of her by inept cops.)
posted by NorthernLite at 12:46 PM on November 29, 2006


(Lemme guess, when that other Republican strongman Reagan first started pushing this bogus war on drugs.)

Reagan's hands aren't clean, but Nixon started the damn thing, and Clinton made the Drug Czar a cabinet position.
posted by Kwantsar at 2:42 PM on November 29, 2006


Heh. I heard about this story, and yeah, it sounds pretty damn absurd to me. Then again, I wouldn't put it past the cops to scare the crap out of the woman. Hell, if I was in that situation, I wouldn't have thought twice. Personal anecdote below:

Reminds me of a time I was changing a tire on the highway at night, by myself. There was no shoulder on the right side of the road, only the left. I'm in the middle of attempting to get the lug nuts off the flat tire and a cop walks around the front of the car and shines his fucking flashlight in my face. I raise the tire iron (at least, that's what I think it's called) because it is my right hand and shielded my eyes. The cop has his gun out of his fucking holster by the time I could see some more of what was going on. (Granted, it was pointed at the ground, but I bet if I made a sudden move that my ass would've been grass.) Now I carry what my dad affectionately refers to as a "helper bar" (It's a 2 foot long piece of steel pipe. 1 inch in diameter, but hollow in the middle) Helps give me more leverage, and I can use it to kneecap a motherfucker, should the need arise.
posted by sperose at 9:31 PM on November 29, 2006


I would have kept a gun on him, but waited for the police, in that situation.

I'm glad you believe you could do that, agregoli.

My bringing up this story was specifically in response to matthewr's statement that in Britain, "We lock this kind of person up", using the example of an apparently mentally ill man that anyone living nearby probably long knew to steer clear of. My counterexample was of a rational and capable professional man defending his family by choice, and not by first resort, from a much more serious threat. Thus, there is no "this kind of person" as matthewr simplistically claimed.

What amazes me is that "no-knock" warrants have been around since even before Bush started using the Constitution for toilet paper. Could someone tell me when this was legalized.

In 1991, they were very rare. Certain state courts had been allowing it. Believe it or not, the key case took place in Madison, Wisconsin, aka Berkeley on the Lake. Since then their use has, presumably, increased. Here's a DOJ view on the matter.
posted by dhartung at 10:12 PM on November 29, 2006


And once again we see that Wisconsin is the center of the Weird Universe. I've told you all time and again that all the oddness in the universe emanates from within the boarders of this damned state.

I would have kept a gun on him, but waited for the police, in that situation.

I'm glad you believe you could do that, agregoli.


I believe the point that dhartung is trying to make is that your statement is charming and naive. No disparagement meant, but really, you would have kept the gun pointed on him? Ok cool, so what happens when you tell him to stop and he blissfully (and or malevolently) ignores you and kicks his way into your kid's room?

I am honestly not trying to sound like one of those 'home invasionist crazy gun nuts', but since we are actually talking about someone invading your home... He may be mentally ill, or he may be a drug fiend, or more likely, he's a burglar who fell through your roof in a failed attempt to take your stuff, and now he's cornered. You have a gun, it's trained on him, he's not listening to your requests to leave, and he's moving closer to your children and/ or wife.

Your experience with the law enforcement agencies in your area is that their response time is ten minutes.

So, are you willing to give this person ten minutes to do whatever he wants before he is apprehended?

Now imagine you live in a ghetto and the response time is more like twenty or thirty minutes. Would you still be willing to hold a gun and not pull the trigger on a stranger in your home?

These events are probably rare at best for most of us. But not unlike the lottery, they are not impossible either. Someone could actually wander into your home. They, for whatever reason may ignore you completely, and be it a gun, a knife, a hammer, or a Nerf bat, were someone to come into your home and not listen to your request to leave, can you at least appreciate the motivation that would have lead you to accept the idea of using greater force than just waiting for help?

Should you decide to keep a gun for home protection, you have to, from the first moment you bring it into your house, acknowledge that one day it may be used to harm some one. If you can't bring yourself to that point, don't own a gun. But never ignore the fact there are people out there that do have these things to worry about, and try to protect themselves accordingly.
posted by quin at 11:46 PM on November 29, 2006


[For the record, I have numerous guns, but since my ammunition is safely locked away it wouldn't be my first choice in this kind of situation. No, I'm the kind of guy that would grab my Zulu spear. As I've said before, a burglar sees a gun and knows that the person bought it to protect themselves out of fear, on the other hand, a burglar sees a Agassi spear and thinks 'Oh shit, this was the wrong house to break in to...']
posted by quin at 11:48 PM on November 29, 2006


a burglar sees a Agassi spear and thinks 'Oh shit, this was the wrong house to break in to...']

I have a couple of nasty looking Tomahawk. Same effect.
posted by tkchrist at 12:18 AM on November 30, 2006


/Offtopic

tkchrist: I have a couple of nasty looking Tomahawk.

There was a time in my life when I tried to establish what the ultimate hand to hand weapon was. After working with several 'experts' in different combat styles and evaluating dozens of different weapons, we came to a draw. There were three weapons that beat everything else, but couldn't beat each other.

The Zulu spear,
The Tomahawk,
and the Katana.

Based on our experiments, all three weapons were perfect when used properly.

It may be perverse to admit, but while an expert in none, I now own all three.

The Tomahawk guards my garage. Woe be to the intruder who stumbles on me working on my car.
posted by quin at 12:49 AM on November 30, 2006


Blech, obviously by 'hand to hand' I mean 'melee'. It's late, and I'm sleepy.
posted by quin at 12:56 AM on November 30, 2006


You know the most obvious absurdly important difference between the US and the UK - and a lot of other places - that affects the different attitudes towards private gun ownership or usage?

It's not the hugeness and isolation - Australia is huge and much less densely populated, and yet the attitude on this topic is just as different from the American one; it's not some individual vs. collective concern - everyone everywhere has their own self-interest at heart, no one in the UK who doesn't care about getting a gun thinks 'gee, I really have this impelling desire and necessity to get a gun, but I'll give it up for the benefit of the common good', they just don't feel that impelling desire and necessity in the first place. Why?

It's the history of how the US was founded and developed and how gun ownership featured into all that and what a role it played, that is peculiar and unique to the US. Right or wrong, it is part of American history and culture.

Whatever side you take, you can't ignore that and talk about guns and what to do when someone breaks into your house as if it all could be argued in the abstract based on universal self-evident principles. It's cultural.

And yes there's more crime in the US than in the UK or Australia, and that is one reason people are more inclined to private gun ownership. But duh, why is there more crime? Isn't that also something to do with history and culture and specific factors, including gun ownership? It's not like you can talk about these things in isolation and 'it's just like that', is it?
posted by pleeker at 2:54 AM on November 30, 2006 [1 favorite]


No-knock = License to Kill
posted by homunculus at 7:05 PM on November 30, 2006


Student Killed During Arrest in NC
posted by homunculus at 10:45 PM on December 4, 2006


1.93 grams.
posted by homunculus at 9:50 AM on December 7, 2006


More puppycide.
posted by homunculus at 12:55 PM on December 23, 2006


Police Raid Gone Wrong in Arizona
posted by homunculus at 9:26 AM on December 26, 2006


« Older Save a Child, Save the World...  |  Jerome Murat... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments